You don’t have to be starving to be an artist.
Last month I got paid. Really paid. For my writing, for the work I did on here. It wasn’t just “WOOT – 2 Starbucks runs!” anymore, and it felt DAMN GOOD.
I’m not bragging – I understand it’s peanuts compared to many other bloggers. I’m being honest about something that has eaten away at me that I finally came to terms with for what I love to do.
When I started blogging, it was because I wanted to write about my day. I didn’t care about HTML or my design, I had no idea that typing each paragraph in a different colored font was not the best way to have people come back. But as time went on, I became more and more blog savvy, and I began to love the other part of blogging. The part beyond just writing.
I remember posting last year about wanting to be paid for the work I did. Because slowly, this has turned into a part time job. I wanted to be paid not so I could be like, “PORCHE-WHAAAAT?” to all my friends (because let’s face it, I’m no where near even “FORD PROBE WHAAAAT”), but so I could justify the time I spent on this little space of mine.
I struggled with the concept of being paid through sponsored posts, ads, giveaways, etc because in my head – this was bad. This was something people did who were just looking to make money off a blog and didn’t care about pouring their heart out or quality. I felt like if you were a writer, you did it solely for the love of writing and NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT
SATAN’S SNARE MONEY. You lived in a hovel with rabid dogs and wrote till your fingers froze off or you starved to death – and you loved it.
Because how you could tell people you wanted to throw your husband off a cliff and needed to see a shrink and then the next day run a giveaway for thongs? I didn’t understand how that could work. It would ruin my blog. At least, that’s what I thought would happen if I played with the “blogging for money” fire. So I backed off.
After BlogHer this year, I had a huge realization.
It’s ok to be paid for what you love to do.
I have come to see, both through blogging and working on a book, that if you love something and you want to be paid for it – that’s great! And if you love it and just want to do it for yourself, that’s great too!
I love to cook. A lot. But I would never, ever pursue it like I have this. I don’t care one whit if I’m ever paid or recognized in any way for my food. I love it because it gives me great pleasure and allows me to be creative in a different, much needed way in my life.
But writing? Writing is my passion. I want to be recognized in some way for what I pour my heart and soul into every day. I want to be paid for something that I set time aside for and work very, very hard at. I want to be paid so I can continue to do it without the guilt of “What am I spending time on here for?” That’s just me, I am not good at activities that don’t produce some sort of an outcome.
Blogging is a bit different than a lot of other writing or work in general because it requires a ton of self-pimpage. (You like that? Just made that one up.) It requires you to sell yourself, to push your own work, to toot your own horn. It requires a public show of ads, networking, and business that every one can see you do. This can be uncomfortable, and it can easily be taken the wrong way by other people. But that’s the deal with blogging, that’s what it takes. Once you realize that, you have to be ok with it.
You have to be ok with failing publicly, succeeding publicly, and the mess and joy in between.
So being paid last month? Was a big deal for me. As I looked at my PayPal account, I felt this surge of pride that came with nearly 2 years of pouring my heart into this. I love my blog. I love my readers. I love what I do on here; from admitting my faults, to poking fun at things, to emotionally dry heaving, to pitching you all a product or company I’ve come to love – knowing you’ll love it too.
It’s ok to write for the love of it. It’s ok to write for money. And it’s ok to write for both.
And if that’s what you want to do, then by golly, quit starving and get your self-pimpage on.